Perfume Directory

Eau Fraîche (1953)
by Christian Dior


Eau Fraîche information

Year of Launch1953
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 53 votes)

People and companies

HouseChristian Dior
PerfumerEdmond Roudnitska
PackagingGuerry Colas
Parent CompanyLVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

About Eau Fraîche

Eau Fraîche is a feminine perfume by Christian Dior. The scent was launched in 1953 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. The bottle was designed by Guerry Colas

Reviews of Eau Fraîche

Roudnitska was best known for his fruity chypres such as Femme, Diorama, Diorella to name a few. He was a classicist and one way he approached the chypre was to filter it through other genres, namely the fougère and the Eau de Cologne. The fougère placed bright aromatics on top of a mossy/woody base and the Eau de Cologne draped hesperidic lightness over musk. The chypre’s high-low construction works from a similar principle and all three genres play with olfactory chiaroscuro.

After mixing fruity and mossy tones in Femme, Roudnitska dug further into the hybrid form with Rochas Moustache and Eau d’Hermès. Moustache, composed with his wife Thérèse, joined the fougère with the chypre giving Moustache a ‘missing link’ feel. Focussing on the similarities of the two genres, the Roudnitskas placed a lime and bergamot topnote on a soapy base to created a perfume that smells like each of the genres, depending on your angle of approach.

Eau d’Hermès laid the groundwork for the next logical hybrid, the one that would be the focus of much of his future career, the Chypre/Eau de Cologne hybrid. Eau d’Hermès’s leathery, armpit of a drydown was one of Roudnitska’s warning shots to the world of perfumery. Fresh is nice, but flesh wins the day.

Eau Fraiche, a somewhat ironic name, is another early example of the tendency. The momentum of animalic notes surpasses the delicacy of citric notes. Eau Fraiche bridged the the edc to the chypre, creating a unicorn: the durable cologne. Even in the era of Tonkin and nitro musks, eaux de cologne were fleeting. Combining the edc with a mossy base kept the shape of cologne but gave it longer legs. It combined two historically unisex forms to create a perfume that suited anyone who wore it.

Eau Fraiche was produced in once concentration: eau de cologne. It had the easy-to-love smile of cologne and the fitted quality of the chypre. It was charming and chic. It was optimistic and suited the post-war desire for a return to normalcy. I can easily imagine the 1950s Paris streets smelling of Eau Fraiche.

Eau Sauvage, Diorella and Parfum de Thérèse are all variations on Eau Fraiche’s basic accord of flowers, fruit and a mossy base. Eau Sauvage’s glistening topnotes, often cited as the first substantial use of hedione, can be found almost in their entirety in Eau Fraiche, created thirteen years earlier.

I can’t help but refer to Femme when I look at any perfume by Roudnitska. It was a seminal work and an early indication of his talent and ambition. With limited resources and during the nightmare of the Nazi occupation of France Roudnitska created Femme and went head to head with Mitsouko, the reference chypre for the prior 25 years. It’s hard not to admire his chutzpah. Femme exploded a debate that had already been present in perfumery for years: dirty vs. clean. Roudnitska may not have had the final word on the discussion but he advanced the argument further than any perfumer before or since.
23rd February, 2016
I never got to try the original so this review is for the reformulated fragrance, and I can only conclude something was lost in the process. Or maybe Eau Fraîche has been endlessly copied. The opening immediately reminded me of Clarins Eau Dynamisante, which I love. The only problem was I like Eau Dynamisante's opening better - it has an extra fresh aromatherapeutic zing, an engaging fragrance, whereas the lemon in Eau Fraîche is nice, but non-memorable.
An animalic note enters quickly, within three minutes, and changes the opening to a fresh lemon cologne with a somewhat civet note, which I found offputting, like attempting to disguise the odor of meat that's turned with lemon air freshener. The association is unpleasant. Then, surprise, the animalic note actually laid down, and a somewhat creamy, somewhat old-styled vanilla accord emerged, à la Jicky.
Eau Fraîche isn't long-lasting, but I wasn't expecting it to be. It's somewhat Jicky association doesn't develop further, but sort of dries off and disappears in a memory of lemon, civet and vanilla. I like the dry down best, where it became soft and skin-like.
I'm not sure what to think of Eau Fraîche - my first thought is that it's a fragrance whose time has come and gone. That is one of the sadder aspects of these reformulations of vintage fragrances. It turns them into less, and demeans their place in history. I've found myself forgiving the remakes out of respect to their origins, but really, it seems perfume houses do themselves a dis-service by this practice. The whole phenomena of chasing vintage fragrances can drive a person a little crazy and I've opted to step out of it and find excellent new ones. The remakes have to stand on their own, which Eau Fraîche didn't. I truly loved many vintage fragrances in their time, so the game of chasing after them, degraded and aged, is a little painful. And many reformulations feel like they have one foot stuck in the past and I find it an odd juxtaposition for the most part, not successful - neither new nor old. Many of them produce an ambivalence in me. Eau Fraîche is one of those.
21st April, 2015
Bright sweet lemony burst reminiscent of lollipops or lemon drop candy.

I kept waiting for the herbal/anise chypre I was promised, but it never arrived, just a linear lemon. Where's the vanilla and the oak moss?

180 degrees from Diorella, with its sour citrus bordering on rot (a copy of Rochas' masculine classic Moustache).

Its one note is not very interesting, hence the neutral review.

Would be a lovely splash for a hot summer's day, I imagine. Longetivity is slight - less than an hour.
30th January, 2014
Like Eau Sauvage so suits me prefectly fine. I always loved my Dad wearing Eau Sauvage. I think it's a nostalgic thing for me. I really love it.
04th May, 2011
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A sorely neglected citrus unisex fragrance. Lovely lemon and some slightly bitter green notes make this a chypre. It's quite light so a liberal spray is recommended, but lasted all day for me. It could have been a touch crisper though, but only a slight moan.
16th June, 2010
I love Eau Fraiche! It smells like an elegant mixture of Diorella and Eau Sauvage. Citrus notes (mainly lemon, though there is definitely orange in there too) dominate the fragrance, though subtle jasmine notes are there too against a very slightly spicy background. Though it isn't doesn't strike me as being particularly sweet, I once tried a testers of Eau Fraiche on one wrist and Diorella on the other, andI was amazed how dry Diorella was in comparison.

I have just seen on the Dior website that Eau Fraciche has been re-released. I'm hoping that it has not been changed.
26th March, 2010

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